University of Sheffield spin-out company Stratium prepares for first product launch

A spin-out company from the University of Sheffield which specialises in quantum cascade laser technology has secured funding allowing it to launch its first product.

Cardiff-based Stratium Limited was formed in July 2015 on the back of collaborative semiconductor laser research and innovation between the University’s departments of Physics and Astronomy and Electronic and Electrical Engineering.
Today Stratium has announced more than £300,000 of seed capital investment from IP Group and Finance Wales allowing it to enter the quantum cascade laser (QCL) marketplace with the launch of Bruar, a mid-infrared QCL chip on sub-mount for use in gas sensing and environmental monitoring applications.
Stratium’s QCL products allow the detection and analysis of trace gases, in the parts-per-million (ppm) to parts-per-trillion (ppt) range. As most molecules have their fundamental rotational-vibrational absorption bands in the mid-infrared region of the spectrum, a significant number of applications are available for laser sources emitting in this technologically important wavelength range.
Phillip Cornish, Commercial Director at Stratium said: “This is an exciting time for the company. There are increasing opportunities for the adoption of quantum cascade laser technologies across several market sectors. With committed investors Stratium is well placed to fulfil the need for QCLs with industrial-grade performance and reliability.”
Kenneth Kennedy, Technical Director said: “This initial investment round will significantly help to optimise Stratium’s QCL material growth, fabrication, test and characterisation capabilities and will allow us to focus on our planned programme of research and development to enhance our QCL product and Intellectual Property portfolio.”
Sarah Fulton, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University of Sheffield, said:  “It is fantastic to see innovation and research, which started here at the University, leading to the launch of a product capable of having such a positive impact in a number of industries.” 
Commenting on Finance Wales’ investment in Stratium, Investment Executive Ann Casey in the tech ventures team said: “Finance Wales is pleased to co-invest with IP Group to back Stratium as its launches Bruar. It’s an important milestone for the company and also our first co-investment from the Wales Technology Seed Fund.  Quantum Cascade Lasers are an emerging technology with significant potential and Stratium’s Bruar chip is an excellent example of how they’re increasingly being used in a wide range of everyday technological applications.  Our investment will also enable Stratium undertake further research and development, scale up its technology and target new markets.”